Thanksgiving is an American holiday to remind Americans to pause and be grateful. Our forefathers who fled from oppression in Europe came to this continent seeking freedom. When they got here, they stopped to say “Thank you.”
“Thank you” to whom? Their hearts turned in prayer to say thank you to God. It was He who delivered, sustained, and provided for them. Their gratitude welled up in them and needed expression.
Which begs the question, “Where does gratitude come from anyway?” We who are blessed to live in America should be among the most grateful people on earth. But are we grateful as a people; or do we take so much for granted?
Harry Emerson Fosdick once said that gratitude is the mother of all virtue. I’ve given thought to that remark. I think he was correct. Being thankful says a great deal about us. Self-centered people are not grateful. In contrast to gratitude, they assume the world owes them even more. You can measure your character by the depth of your gratitude.
Today we have such a high view of man and such a low view of God. Some presume that God owes us forgiveness because He loves us. If you see God as in debt to man, you will not be thankful for His grace and mercy. Oswald Chambers says of gratitude,
The thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin. When once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice, constrained by the love of God.
If you need to be more grateful, I suggest you spend more time at the foot of the Cross. There where the blood flows down you can see how God hates the sin and selfishness in you. Jesus Christ hates the wrong in you, and the Cross is the measure of His Hatred. The only way God could love us was to execute His precious Son in our place. Only when you see yourself in the light of Calvary, lost and
condemned, can you find a thankful heart. Seeing how lost we are without Him, we can see how much God has loved us. Then and only then can we begin to humbly be thankful.
“Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”